In a world where more and more people find themselves working longer hours, how do leaders achieve and maintain work-life balance? It is a challenge to say the least. Every day millions of people wrestle with that question. Leaders are trying to find solutions.
Gone are the days when leaving the office meant leaving work behind. With today’s heavy usage of electronic mobile devices, many of us find it difficult to simply disconnect from work.
Striking a good work-life balance can be a challenge even at the best of times, but it is more overwhelming during times of economic turbulence and uncertainty.
Although the Great Recession is somewhat behind us with cutbacks and layoffs, work has left many people putting in longer hours, working harder than ever and sometimes working two to three jobs to keep our heads above water.
Many leaders feel overwhelmed, discouraged and stressed. Achieving more with less is not only corporate America business mantra but more like reality TV.
Work-Life Balance ranks as one of the top leadership crisis in our country. We seem to be doing more with less but expect companies and people to engage with their employees on a daily basis.
On the bright side, there are several companies like Google, Mind Valley and Zappos that integrate work-life balance to their employee wellness by including life coaches on their teams, on-site day care, on-site gym facility, meditation and spending 3 to 5 hours of their work week purchasing books on Amazon to further their personal development on company’s time.
For leaders, work-life balance is even more challenging. If you’re in a leadership role, you may have to be available at some times that you wouldn’t want to be otherwise. You have the responsibility of an entire department or the organization.
Do great leaders support work-life balance and, if so, how do they do it successfully?
Focus on what really matters-Time is the most valuable commodity. It is the one things we can’t buy more of. Wasting someone’s time can be very costly not only to them but to you as well. So focus on what really matters in your organization. What moves the needle in the right direction in your business? Are you focused on the top priorities of get bogged down by an email that simply aggravated you?
Be open about your needs and expectations–You can’t expect people to be mind- readers. They don’t know what really matters to you and how you feel about work-life balance. You have to be a good communicator and tell them what you need. Do you need to leave work at 6pm to have a family dinner? Do you need to step away at noon for a call to your daughter about school? Do you need to take a yoga class one night to distress and be more productive?
Cross-Train and Develop people–You might think, how is that going to create better work-life balance for me? Well if you train and develop people, they can do more and help you achieve the goals you are working so hard on by yourself. Train yourself out of a job by teaching someone the skills and know-how so you can have better balance.
Don’t have a meeting for the sake of meeting with people-Remember that the most important thing you can add to someone’s day is time. Ask yourself and reflect on what needs to be communicated from emails and what needs to be communicated in a meeting? All meetings should have an agenda and time frame to steer the purpose of the meeting. A meeting is not a water cooler conversation.
Use the phone not only for work but for family and friends-We use our mobile devices 80% of the time to conduct business and stay connected to work. How about we spontaneously call our children or wife, a friend we have not talked to in a while? 15-20 minutes can make the difference between I am too busy to I really care about you and want to know how your day is going.